The Virginia Tech Athletics Department and its fundraising group, the Virginia Tech Athletic Fund, received a significant gift in advance of Drive for 25 Day, as Blacksburg native and 1998 graduate Mehul Sanghani and wife Hema, a 1999 graduate, have agreed to match up to $250,000 in the total amount of cash raised on that day.
The athletics department’s inaugural Drive for 25 Day starts at noon on Sept. 25 and runs for 25 hours – through 1 p.m. on Sept. 26 – with the goal being to raise financial support for both student-athlete scholarships and Virginia Tech Athletics by increasing the membership of the Hokie Club to 25,000 members. Hokie Club officials have set up a giving page for each individual sport in preparation for Drive for 25 Day, and they have secured matching gifts for each sport (up to $5,000).
Now, Sanghani’s generous gift will have an immediate and additional impact on the experiences and futures of Virginia Tech’s student-athletes.
“Like many others who have joined the Hokie Club and given generously since we launched the Drive for 25 in 2016, Mehul is a great Hokie, one who is passionate about his school, its students and our student-athletes,” said Bill Lansden, senior associate athletics director for development and executive director of the Hokie Club. “His gift and the gifts of many others are going to transform the lives of our student-athletes, and we’re encouraging Hokies from all over the country to join us on Drive for 25 Day as well.
“We’ve got so much positive momentum going here at Virginia Tech and within athletics, thanks to our great student-athletes and to people like Mehul and many other great Hokies. Joining the Drive for 25 is a great way for the rest of Hokie Nation to help us keep that momentum moving in the right direction.”
Sanghani comes from a modest background, having helped his parents and sister run a family-owned motel in Blacksburg while living in a 900 square-foot apartment above the office of the motel. After graduating from Blacksburg High School, he went on to enroll at Virginia Tech, graduating with bachelor’s degrees in industrial systems engineering and psychology. Sanghani met his wife Hema, a 1999 Finance graduate and native of Lynchburg, VA while at school.
After working for several different companies following his graduation, he founded Octo Consulting Group in 2006, and today, he serves as the founder and CEO of the company – a nationally recognized and award-winning technology solutions firm located in Vienna, Virginia serving the federal market. Four years ago, his company was named the Corporate Philanthropist of the Year by the Washington Business Journal and nominated for the National Jefferson Awards for Public Service based on the film’s charitable efforts and engagement with numerous community outreach activities. The firm has been recognized in Inc. magazine and Forbes as one of the fastest growing private businesses in America.
In 2014, then-Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe appointed Sanghani to the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors. This past June, current Governor Ralph Northam re-appointed Sanghani to another term.
Sanghani is just one of many whom Tech officials expect to be involved on Drive for 25 Day. Lansden and other Hokie Club staff members are encouraging other current donors to become Drive for 25 Day Ambassadors – people who use email contacts and social media accounts to educate on how contributions make a difference in the lives of student-athletes.